Friday, September 25, 2009

Goodbye Comcast Cable

Hello Dish Network!

After getting our last Comcast bill, well, it was way too much. Marci and I started talking about satellite TV and seeing that it was quite a bit cheaper than Comcast. Basically, it came down to DirecTV and Dish Network.

The past few days, I've been on the phone with both companies, as well as researching on the internet. Both have their positives (cheaper than cable, better picture, more channels) as well as their negatives (dish on house, possible interruptions in service by weather, have to install new equipment).

The channel packages are pretty much the same. The package I ended up getting with Dish Network, the Silver 200, does have AMC so I can continue my Mad Men addiction, however, it's in standard def. Also, no more National Geographic channel, so goodbye to my pal, Cesar Millan. The pricing for HD channels ($10.00/month) and equipment pricing ($7 to $10/month) was about the same. So, after researching, to me it came down to one main difference:

Equipment.

With DirecTV, if I have 3 TVs in the house (which we do), I'd need to have 3 receivers installed. One HD receiver downstairs, one upstairs, and one SD receiver in the bedroom. Sure, they're "free", but I didn't want all that hardware.

Dish Network has these dual tuner DVRs that are pretty slick. For our 3 TVs, we are able to get by with 2 receivers. One HD downstairs, and one HD-DVR upstairs. What's cool about these is with the dual tuner capabilities, we can have the upstairs TV on HD while our little SD TV in the bedroom runs off the other tuner. It sends the SD signal through the existing cable to do this. The technician put a little antenna on the back of the box in the front room and we're using a remote in the bedroom to control it.

Pretty slick!

Anyway, it's working fabulously upstairs. The picture is great, even on the SD side. I'm able to record a show from the bedroom and watch it in HD in the front room. Or vice versa. Or record 2 separate shows and watch 2 previously recorded shows, if we desire. Slick!

So, downstairs, I was going to go with the HD receiver only, with no DVR. As I started realizing that I'd have to watch football on the SDTV or hog the other TV, I started to hyperventilate. I eyed our trusty Series 2 TiVo from way back when and brought that sucker downstairs.

With the dual tuner capabilities of the Dish Network's receiver, I'm able to send the SD signal to the TiVo, have the TiVo control the satellite receiver, and record shows that way! Yes, it's another box down here, but I'm not paying $12/month for the service, and sure, the shows will be recorded in SD (but transmitted via S-Video, at least!), but I'll get to watch them on my time, without bogarting the TV from Marci and the kids.

Right now, the TiVo is chugging away downloading and organizing show content from the Dish Network servers. That should be done shortly and then it'll be go time.

I love it when a plan comes together! Plus, saving about $50/month on TV bills is pretty nice too.